The life of an attorney as portrayed on television and the movies looks pretty exciting! The reality is there is some excitement at the beginning and the end of the process, but the longest part of the process is quiet, hard work. Entire careers are dedicated to research and studying, while other attorneys focus only on trial. Many are somewhere in between though developing expertise in trial and preparation.
Every case starts with meeting with someone injured and learning their story. Each person has suffered and all the stories we hear are heartfelt. The skill comes in active listening and being able to decipher whether or not a legal cause for action has occurred. This can take some digging and asking some difficult questions, so we get to know people very well! Determining fault is essential. There are also critical elements that must be present. For instance, in worker’s compensation the injury must have been properly reported and treatment can only be sought pursuant to the two doctor rule. If not, there is no case to pursue.
The majority of the day to day activities encompass don’t make it onto movie screens …studying, reading and strategizing.
Reading – There are volumes and volumes of documents to be read. In the case of worker’s compensation and medical malpractice, there are often thousands of pages of medical records to be thoroughly read and dissected. Each detail is so important. Then there are all the pleadings and correspondence from opposing counsel. Even a seemingly insignificant document can end up being very important.
Studying – Researching case law and similar cases is integral to guaranteeing success. The facts of your case must be supported by the law or you will not have an action to pursue. There are countless decisions and statutes to wade through and it takes determination and sometimes long hours to secure the information needed for a winning case.
Strategizing – Perhaps the most important part is putting together the facts of your case and the law to support your position. Then you create a road map to guide the whole process from filing the case to trial. This has to be done for any case even if it ends up in settlement. From day one, you have to prepare for trial.
There are lots of supporting roles that also work on the cases making phone calls, ordering records, preparing documents and helping clients just to name a few things. Of course, trial can be very exciting and if you are well prepared hopefully there will not be any surprises and the drama will be very limited.
The perception is that the legal system moves way to slow and takes way to long. When you really stop and consider everything involved and every person’s right to due process you may have a different perspective. The movie about the real day to day life of an attorney may not be as fun to watch!
ESR Law Group is Chicago’s personal injury law firm. We represent clients in personal injury, medical malpractice, and workers’ compensation cases. Contact our office today!